IBM aims for 50 qubit quantum computer ‘in next few years’

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IBM has announced an initiative to build commercially available quantum computing systems. Called IBM Q, the systems and services will be delivered via the IBM Cloud platform.

“IBM has invested over decades to growing the field of quantum computing and we are committed to expanding access to quantum systems and their powerful capabilities for the science and business communities,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director for IBM Research.

“Following Watson and blockchain, we believe that quantum computing will provide the next powerful set of services delivered via the IBM Cloud platform and promises to be the next major technology that has the potential to drive a new era of innovation across industries.”

IBM has also announced: an API for the IBM Quantum Experience; and an upgraded simulator on the IBM Quantum Experience that can model circuits with up to 20 qubits. IBM will also release a full Software Development Kit, allowing users to build simple quantum applications and software programs.

IBM says a key metric will be the ‘quantum volume’, which includes the number of qubits, quality of quantum operations, qubit connectivity and parallelism. As a first step, IBM hopes to build systems with approximately 50 qubits in the next few years and plans to collaborate with partners to develop applications that exploit the potential of quantum computing.

“To create knowledge from much greater depths of complexity, we need a quantum computer,” said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of IBM Systems. “We envision IBM Q systems working in concert with our portfolio of classical high-performance systems to address problems that are currently unsolvable, but hold tremendous untapped value.”
IBM believes that collaborating and engaging with developers, programmers and university partners will be essential to the development and evolution of IBM’s quantum computing systems.

Since its launch less than a year ago, the Quantum Experience has seen some 40,000 users running more than 275,000 experiments.